Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Carruthers on Massive Modularity

  • Ian D. StephenEmail author
  • Darren Burke
  • Danielle Sulikowski
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3095-1



Carruthers defines mental modules more loosely than does Fodor and provides three arguments in defense of the concept of massive modularity of mind.


In The Architecture of the Mind: Massive Modularity and the Flexibility of Thought, Carruthers (2006) defends the concept of massive modularity of the human mind. He first distinguishes massive modularity (that the brain is composed entirely of modules) from Fodorian modularity (which postulated peripheral modules feeding into a domain-general central processor/s). He then provides a series of three formal arguments for the massive modularity of mind: an argument based on the architecture of complex biological systems; an argument appealing to task specificity, which is supported largely by comparative evidence; and an argument from computational tractability. The current entry summarizes Carruthers’ position and notes some key challenges that his arguments have...


Human Mind Central Processor Nonhuman Animal Mental Module Complex Biological System 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian D. Stephen
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Darren Burke
    • 4
  • Danielle Sulikowski
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its DisordersMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  3. 3.Perception in Action Research CentreMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  4. 4.School of PsychologyUniversity of NewcastleOurimbahAustralia
  5. 5.School of PsychologyCharles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia